Celebrating the Year of the Ox

Thousands of hardy souls lined the parade route on a frigid Saturday, January 31, to join in the celebration of “Chinese New Year” with the 14th Annual Lunar New Year’s parade through downtown Flushing.
A phalanx of elected officials and community leaders gathered behind a street-wide banner, wishing all a happy year of the Ox. They strode briskly along the parade route in a rather tightly packed mass - some small defense against the skin-numbing combination of wind and cold temperatures.
Around and behind them, dedicated musicians, dancers and performers from Flushing’s multifaceted Asian community proudly displayed their traditions, banging drums and gongs, their lines interweaving in serpentine fashion - at once respecting and protecting against that most awesome creature of Asian lore, the dragon.
Not to disappoint, the dragons came, represented by even hardier souls in tee-shirts, who animated the dragon mannequins as they flew and shook their way along the route.
More than a few of the onlookers seemed wistful for a little of their mythical fire on that day but they were smiling with joy and pride; they stayed to end waving balloons and snatching at little bits of the good-luck confetti being shot into the air.
At the end of the parade route, a post-parade celebration at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel highlighted other traditions, among them calligraphy and paper-folding, that helps keep the cultural flame alive in the world’s greatest melting pot - Queens.

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